Monthly Archives: December 2005

Trying to grock XML, OPML, and the Semantic Web

A couple years ago I used Ask Jeeves to query “what is the meaning of life?” The top entry explained the concept of “The Singularity“. Given Moore’s Law of computer capability eventually the graph approaches infinity. In other words artificial intelligence will surpass our comprehension. They recommended that one’s purpose in life should be to help program the “seed instructions” for teaching the computer how to learn in such a way that it would always be benevolent towards human kind.
To allow computer intelligence to understand “everything”, all data should be entered into the computer in a way that allows it to be easily comprehended. Google Base wants all data to be entered via a speadsheet that uses specific, predefined labels and attributes. The more boxes that are filled in properly, the more the computer can make sense of the data. Today Google Base knows that I am interested in collecting. When I fill out more boxes it will know that I collect rocks and that I especially like mud concretions from Lake Superior. It will know where pictures of my mud concretions are and may eventually know which ones I would consider selling, the price, method of payment, shipping costs, etc.
Filling out all those boxes could be a hassle though. Just suppose all that data was already on my website and that it was in a format that that Google Base could understand and suppose my website was already supplying RSS feeds that Google (or anyone) could read. This is what Blogware is doing with my data. It is a database management tool that sorts my information into categories. Did you you know you could sort what you read on a Blogware site. If you are only interested in my collections and do not want to see the dozens of family photos or read about blogging you can by bookmarking my collections URL. If you only want to see specific new information as it is published, you can via a feed reader like Bloglines or Newsgator(XML) or if you are not up to speed you can get an e-mail. Do this by clicking on create a reader account in the log in box then choose the e-mail notifications or XML RSS feeds you want. I have a reader account at Heidi Go Seek and she has a feature down the left column a ways that tells her the last time I visited her Blog.
Scoble, always being on the cutting edge, said he wanted a blog service that did OPML.(although I read Scobleizer every day I do not recall him explaining or pointing to why OPML is such a big deal) Apparently this is the next level in publishing your information in such a way that artificially intelligent robots can understand and better use your data. Dave Winer has come out with an OPML editor, validator, and a server. This stuff is too cutting edge for me to understand yet but my guess is that that is a space I will want to be in soon. I belive some people are referring to this as Web 2.0. I recommend reading Sam Walton Taught Google More About How to Dominate the Internet Than Microsoft Ever Did by Robert X. Cringely who says that Web 2.0 = Google. Bill Burnham in RSS and Google Base: Google Feeds Off The Web also gives insite as to how this might work.


Finding what you are looking for

Yahoo recently added to it arsenal in order to gain advantage in the search services battle.
Ellyssa Kroski has written an excellent article, The Hive Mind: Folksonomies and User-Based Tagging, which really helped me grasp how to find what I want on the web.

“We are on the cusp of an exciting new stage of Web growth in which the users provide both meaning and a means of finding through tagging.
The wisdom of crowds, the hive mind, and the collective intelligence are doing what heretofore only expert catalogers, information architects and website authors have done. They are categorizing and organizing the Internet and determining the user experience, and it’s working. No longer do the experts have the monopoly on this domain; in this new age users have been empowered to determine their own cataloging needs. Metadata is now in the realm of the Everyman.”

By using My delicious, My flicker, My 43 things, My etc., I have made a quantum leap in finding, organizing, and saving knowledge that will enhance my potential.